In the next in our series of “In the Spotlight” we’ll be talking to defensive stalwart Nathan Cooper on heroes, the season to date plus the highs and lows of his career so far.


What is your occupation?

Railway worker, I work on the tracks. Network Rail.

Me: So is it your fault that we can’t get a train?

That’s right. If you’re late in the morning, that’s me!

Who is your footballing hero/hero?

Good one.. Vincent Kompany when he is fit! If not, an older one would be Rio Ferdinand.

How would you analyse the season thus far?

Good. But no consistent enough. That’s the only trouble we have had. We’ve been good in certain areas and poor in other areas. We’re not always great against the weaker teams.

From a person perspective, how do you think your season has gone so far?

Yeah, not too bad. Been alright, I wouldn’t say outstanding but not too bad.

Best piece of advice received as a footballer?

It was something to do with Bobby Moore. He was a good defender because he never got dirty and it has taken a long while for me to understand why but it’s because if he had to make a sliding tackle it’s because he was in the wrong position, therefore he never made a sliding tackle. I learnt that and I don’t really make any sliding tackles anymore.

Me: You still love a sliding tackle though don’t you?!

Yeah, if I can, I will!

So, what are your previous clubs?

I was with Romford. At school, I was with Barking Abbey Academy but when I was younger I was with Redbridge and then I went to Manford Way. I had a little spell at the Essex Academy as well. I then went to University then Romford and now I’m here.

Best game that you’ve ever played in?

So, when I was playing For Essex, we played at Colchester’s ground it was like the Essex Final, County Cup or something. We went onto win and it was the first time and Essex side done the double in 66 years. So yeah, it was a good game and I played really well.

What about from a personal perspective?

Probably, the most recent one was against (AFC) Hornchurch, playing for Romford. That’s probably how I got the move to (AFC) Hornchurch! I was up against David Knight and George Purcell and I did alright to be fair!

Best side you’ve come up against this season?

Maldon. I think they’re the best side and they have been the most consistent.

Favourite goal?

Actually, I was at University (St. Marys) and we have a thing called varsity and it’s basically like West Ham v Millwall! We played each other and I scored a bicycle kick in the final and I ran into the crowd and that was a good day.

What football team do you support?

West Ham.

Best mate at the club?

Haven’t really got one to be fair. I get along with everyone! The taxi driver is Jamie Hursit so I suppose I’m closest to him. But no, we’re a good bunch of lads.

Me: I interviewed Jed Chouman and he said he didn’t really have a best mate at the club and that you’re all a tight-knit bunch but I thought he said that just because he didn’t have any friends!

Jed has got a few but not many to be fair!

Where were your first memories/experiences of football?

Watching Di Canio for West Ham was probably my first. I remember when I was younger, I used to play up front and I happened to score 6 in one game! We won 6-0 as well.

Favourite away ground?

I’m terrible when it comes to who I’ve played and where I’ve played! I just can’t remember. I’m terrible with stats and all of that as well. That’s a hard one to be honest.

Me: That probably shows your concentration levels though, doesn’t it?

Yeah, or lack of! (concentration)

Finally, realistic aims for the season?

Realistic is play offs and hopeful is that Brightlingsea and Maldon mess up and we can nick first! I think third should be our expectations but first is still what we are aiming for!

Interview by Mitchell Walker (AFC Hornchurch Supporters’ Association)